Sandra Oh says she got 'very sick' after quick rise to fame: 'I had to take care of my health first'

·2-min read
Sandra Oh talks about getting sick following her quick rise to fame during the early days of
Sandra Oh talks about getting sick following her quick rise to fame during the early days of "Grey's Anatomy." (Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Sandra Oh is opening up about how skyrocketing to fame on Grey’s Anatomy affected her physical and mental health.

The Killing Eve actress, who portrayed Dr. Cristina Yang on the ABC medical drama for 10 seasons, joined Squid Game star Jung Ho-yeon for a conversation for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, in which she discussed her life in the spotlight.

“Honestly, I got sick,” she recalled. “I think my whole body was very, very sick. Even though you keep on working, but it’s just like, ‘Oh, I can’t sleep. Oh, my back hurts, I don’t know what’s wrong with my skin.'”

Explaining that her life “changed very much” after the Shonda Rhimes-created show premiered in 2005, she shared, “It’s tricky to imagine, because this is almost 20 years ago. So the context is very different. But the stress is the same, or the confusion is the same … when people are in extremely amazing, privileged, heavy responsibility positions like this.”

Oh added,“I learned that I had to take care of my health first.”

“That’s not only your body,” she noted. “That is your soul. That is definitely your mind. So even those things like doubt, question. ‘Cause you can’t, ultimately, depend on anyone else. You have to somehow find it within yourself. You ask people’s opinions, yes of course, but ultimately, we are alone with ourselves.”

Oh has spoken about the toll starring on a hugely popular series took on her health before. In an August 2021 interview with Willie Giest on Sunday Today, she shared that the experience was “traumatic.”

“The circumstances you need to do your work, is with a lot of privacy,” she said at the time. “And so when one loses one’s anonymity, you have to build skills to still try and be real.”

Oh, who stars on Netflix’s The Chair, also shared that finding a “good therapist” was “very, very important” to maintaining her mental health.

“You just have to work at finding your way to stay grounded,” she added. “And a lot of times, that’s by saying no.”

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